The Gift of Gratitude: Take some time now to thank someone who has brightened your live, lightened your burden or cushioned your fall.

The gift of gratitude. I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch lately and I received out of nowhere a great gift – a wonderfully gracious note from a person who believes I made a positive difference in her life. People often assume that someone who writes as often as I do have all the positive encouragement and affirmation they need. For one thing, there is never too much affirmation, for another it is rare that people take the time to write the kind of note Debra sent me. I know it is unhumble to post a comment praising me but it made a great impact on me and I will indulge my vanity by sharing it. More important I want to remind you how much power you have to enrich the lives of others simply by expressing your gratitude. Take some time now to thank someone who has brightened your live, lightened your burden or cushioned your fall.

Dear Michael – I just wanted to let you know that while you don’t know me or my family , YOU have mattered to us and YOU have made a difference in our lives.

Some time ago, when I was still living in Southern CA (where I and my children were born and raised), I wrote to you on your website to tell you the story of how when my two sons were in school, not yet old enough to drive, I would drive them to school early each morning, to before-school sports or band practices. We always had KNX radio playing in the background. Whenever your segment on “Character Counts” came on (at 6:55 am?) our conversation went silent so we could listen to your message…and then we would discuss what we heard.

A few years later, when my oldest son was a senior in high school, he became an Eagle Scout. In the speech he gave at his Eagle Court of Honor ceremony, he recognized me as having taught him that “Character Counts”, and he described what that saying meant (i.e. summarizing many of the things he heard you say) . I wrote you at that time to let you know that YOU deserved the credit.

Fast forward almost 14 years. My husband and I are now retired in Florida and that Eagle Scout is now a fighter pilot in the US Marines, based in Beaufort, South Carolina. He has been serving as the XO of the Marine Corp Air Station for the past year and we could not be more proud of him. He exemplifies “Character Counts” (as does our younger son, who now lives on his own in Switzerland, working for a “Big 4” accounting firm). They are both spreading lessons learned from you around the world.

I have a recent picture of this Marine Corp Captain and his little girl that you might appreciate (just let me know how to send it to you).

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do to help make this world a better place. I am blessed and honored that you have had such a positive impact on our lives. Thank you for persevering in such challenging times. I’m sure it’s not been an easy road, and sometimes may seem thankless, but rest assured, YOU exemplify what really matters.

Debra Boelkes

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